Fellowship of the Rings: Audio Commentary

January 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Over the Christmas period I was reunited with one of my most-loved (materialistic) possessions: my  box-sets of the special editions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. 

I wasted no time in curling up in bed and putting on the first of the three films: The Fellowship of the Ring. Not to watch the actual movie, but to listen to the cast audio commentary.

The Cast

Given that it is an audio commentary that I am blogging about, it makes sense to first mention which cast members entertained me for over three hours.

The following add their voices and opinions:

Elijah Wood (Frodo), Sean Astin (Sam), Dominic Monaghan (Merry), Billy Boyd (Pippin), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Christopher Lee (Saruman), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), Liv Tyler (Arwen) and Sean Bean (Boromir).

While not all these people speak throughout the entire film (it’s largely dominated by the four hobbits), they each have their own tales about filming and each other.

The funny tales

Now, you may be wondering why I would choose to watch the audio commentary instead of the movie itself.

There are a few reasons, but top of the list is because large parts of it are hilarious. In particular, listening to the antics that the four hobbits got up to together over the 18 months of shooting, makes me, every time, laugh out loud.

The following video is just one example of the tales you hear in the audio commentary:

I’ll share just a few of my favourite anecdotes (though I will acknowledge that my retelling of them is not nearly as funny as it is listening to actors):

1) Turning up to the set for the town of Bree, Billy and Dom (aka Merry and Pippin – and just as silly and foolish) notice that there are a number of golf balls lying around on the ground. Dom picks one up, naturally. Turns out the golf balls are there as markers for the actors later on.

If you want to read the actual commentary of this, click the link.

2) When filming on a mountain location, the ever-safety conscious Sean Astin starts directing helicopters to land safely on the mountain.

3) Dom and Billy, after a day of filming in the snow, up a mountain, sit on shovels and slide back down to the bottom.

Family Atmosphere 

What comes through to me on watching the audio commentary is the sense that there was a family atmosphere amongst the actors whilst they were filming.

This is particularly strong for the four hobbits – who are sitting, watching the film, together. Throughout the three hours they are constantly joking and laughing at each other.

As Ian McKellen says, “you can’t fake the friendship between those four young actors.”

And throughout the commentary, it is something the actors reflect on themselves. That the coming together of the fellowship in the film, is reflective of the bonding experienced by the cast.

Sean Bean says, “we became good friends” and John Rhys-Davies points out that the cast, “bonded together so wonderfully well.”

Behind-the-scenes tidbits  

The nerd inside of me also loves the fact that in watching the audio commentary I learnt a lot of what I think are cool behind-the-scenes facts about the movie and the actors.

For example, did you know that in the scene when Bilbo drops the rings onto the floor of Bag End that the floor was actually magnetic so that the ring wouldn’t bounce?

That on one day of filming (during the ‘elevensies’ scene) it snowed to much that the cast and crew got snowed out?

Or that the Council of Elrond scene took five days to shoot – and by the end of it the actors, more or less, knew each others lines.

And just to end on a funny note, here is a video of some of the bloopers from filming (can’t you just tell they had so much fun!)

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